Cameron Smith in action today – photo Getty Images Sam Greenwood
Australian Cameron Smith has once again put himself in the firing line of a significant PGA Tour event, this time the WGC Workday Championship at The Concession in south west Florida.
Smith has completed the opening two rounds of the US$10.5 million event just one shot off the pace set by Brooks Koepka and shares second place with Collin Morikawa and Billy Horschel.
Off the back of an impressive 4th place at the Genesis Invitational last Sunday, Smith produced a seven-birdie round of 66 to again show his capacity to play big events well.
With now just six weeks to the Masters, where Smith finished runner-up last November, the 24-year old’s form appears to be falling into place at exactly the right time.
“I just feel like I’m playing really solid at the moment,” said Smith. This is probably the best my ball-striking’s felt to myself in a very long time. So yeah, really comfortable with the short and long stuff.
“I think it (the Nicklaus / Jacklin layout) is tough but fair. You can make birdies if you hit your tee shots in the right spots. I think the greens, if they firmed up a little bit, this place could be pretty interesting. I think they’ve done a really good job in prep for it. Hopefully the greens firm up a little bit on the weekend, we can see some more creative shots into the green.”
Compared to last week in California the temperature this week is considerably hotter but Smith is enjoying the warmer conditions.
“Yeah, I love being in the heat. Those early morning tee times in L.A. last week were pretty brutal. I grew up in Brisbane, it’s a very similar climate to this, so I love being out there and getting hot.”
Koepka continues to recover from injury issues and is returning to the sort of form that saw him as the world number one previously. His recent win in Phoenix had him back on track and despite a final hole bogey today, his round of 66 was good enough to edge him clear of the field.
“I’ve only been home like 25 days since Boston of the Playoffs last year, so I’ve spent the entire time in San Diego with my trainer Derek, just grinding, trying to make sure my knee’s right,” said Koepka.
“Once my body was right, it was only a matter of time before my swing kind of came into a groove I guess you could say. Then once — I mean, in December it finally was like it started to click, so I put in the work, it’s just now I’m starting to see it.
“Usually, I can never find my game until THE PLAYERS, that’s kind of when it starts to feel like it’s coming around, but the fact that it’s here a little bit early is nice.”
Jason Day is the next best of the Australians after Smith, a second round of 69 improving him to 4 under and in a share of 17th.
Wade Ormsby was unable to repeat his first round effort and was round in 74 to be in 26th place, a position he shares with Marc Leishman, Jason Scrivener went the other way with a round of 68 to be 37th, Adam Scott is 43rd, Min Woo Lee 49th and Brad Kennedy and Lucas Herbert 69th in the 72 player field.
There is no cut in this event so all players get to play all 72 holes.